Can you rejoice in Me?

Lying in bed, earlier than I want it to be.
The sound of children’s voices when I want quiet.
Grumbles rise to the surface, discontentment chafing.
If only I had a bigger house, quieter children…

Recognising the path my thoughts are taking, reining them in,
Offering thankfulness for this house, these children, this life.
And then His whisper in my mind:

“Can you rejoice in Me?”

Not just thanking Him for His blessings,
But basking in His presence,
Opening my heart to the rays of His love,
Looking past the changing circumstances, good or ill,
And seeing the One who never alters.

I will rejoice in You!

Dear Moppet

In January we had visitors from Germany come to stay with us.  They were friendly and fun, playing swing ball and jumping on the trampoline with our children.  However their stay also highlighted for me some problems in our family that needed to be dealt with.  It was painful at the time, but I’m grateful for the work God did….

Dear Moppet,

You have long blond hair, a sweet round face, and sturdy limbs.  You love to sing and dance.  I watch you on the trampoline and I laugh at the big words you use and your decided opinions.  You act tough, but can suddenly crumple at a harsh word or angry tone.  Sometimes you use words as weapons, lashing out at your three older siblings, and I wonder how you learnt that and why you want to hurt them.  You are growing fast and will soon be too big for my lap, and I suddenly want to put brakes on Time and keep you little for longer, and make up for the moments I did not cherish earlier.

I’m sorry to say that I resented you when you were little: the years of waking up every night for no reason I could make out, the annoyance of trying to keep everyone else quiet during your naps, the ‘inconvenience’ having a baby or toddler caused.  I even spoke the words, “I wish…..”  I don’t want to finish the sentence now because it is too painful to remember.  I didn’t realise the treasure God had given us in you.

I saw the damage my attitude had caused, when we had visitors in January and my little 5-year-old girl clung to a stranger, wanting to hold her hand and sit on her lap, things you never did with me.  God forgive me for my blindness.  That night I lay awake and wept because of the wrong I had done you and the words I had spoken many times, though never to your face, “I don’t want another baby if it is like M.”  I take them back.  I love you, Moppet.  It doesn’t matter how much disruption you cause.  Nothing changes the fact that you’re my treasure.

Your Daddy and I prayed together and repented of our words and attitudes.  God gave us His peace and I know that He will heal our relationship and make it beautiful.  I’ve been holding you more, and expressing my love for you, praying with you and playing with you.  I know things are changing and I’m grateful.

Love you forever,

Mum.

Verses for Parenthood

I would like to say now that even though I am the mother of 5 children, and a stay-at-home mum, and a homeschooler, I do not consider myself to be an expert parent.  In fact, I can only point to the grace of God who sustains me, gives me wisdom when I ask Him, and who forgives my sins and heals both my wounds and the hurts I have inflicted on others.

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up;

God is our salvation.

Psalm 68:19

Today I’d like to share some of the verses that have been signposts pointing me to a way of parenting that is more Christlike.  I have been transformed from a violent, angry and selfish parent to one who is patient and loving (though still not perfect).  This process has taken about 10 years.  My darkest time was about 7 years ago when my third child was a baby.  I wanted to change desperately, but it seemed impossible.   I wanted to kill myself, run away, anything to escape.  I thought that my family would be better off without me.  That was a lie.  Somehow God’s Holy Spirit got through to me that it would be better for my family if I was able to change and be a different person, than for me to die and leave them.   white_dove-wideHe gave me a thread of hope to hold on to, that better days would come.  And they have.

‘Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.’

Philippians 4 v. 5

The true Christian parent must be gentle.  This does not mean that the parent is weak or does not discipline their children.  However we can see the gentleness of Christ with children.  He valued them, He welcomed them and He was beloved by them.  They were drawn to Him because of the love that radiated from Him.  That is what I want to be like.

Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

James 1 v. 20

This verse has reminded me many times that my human anger will not produce true righteousness in my children.  It may induce them to comply with my wishes, and behave as I want them to, but will not change their hearts.  My Heavenly Father has worked in my heart, taking away the anger and giving me peace.  I need to come to Him each day because it is easy to fall back into my old habits of becoming irritated and impatient, and using my anger to try to produce God’s fruit.  It won’t work!

She opens her mouth with wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Proverbs 31 v. 26 (NRSV)

How can I teach others to be kind, if I am not kind myself?  The righteous mother teaches others to be kind and her words are wise.  They flow from a life that is full of wisdom and kindness.

For the Lord spoke thus to me while his hand was strong upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what it fears, or be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall regard as holy; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread….

See, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.

Isaiah 8 v. 11-13, 18

I call this my ‘homeschooling verse’ because God gave it to me about a year after we started homeschooling.  It is a reminder to me that I must not fear what anyone else fears, but only fear God and do His will.  He will make me and my children a sign to others.  They will see His presence with us as we obey Him.  There are so many things that we as parents worry about and fear, but Jesus tell us not to worry about the future.  Trust in Him for the days to come.  Seek the kingdom first!

Here is my last one to share, which the Holy Spirit pointed out to me only recently.

I know your works.  Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.  I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Revelation 3 v. 8

God gave me this verse at a time when I was deeply discouraged about homeschooling.  I was afraid of what others were thinking about my children and about me.  I had a sleepless night, torturing myself with these thoughts.  Then in the morning, I asked Him for guidance, and turned to Revelation, the book I was reading then, not expecting anything encouraging, but that verse leapt out at me.  He was saying that He knows that I am weak (and I am), but I am faithful to Him and that is what matters.  This past year both my husband and I have been praying more, seeking God more, and putting Him first.  He is in control, and no one can shut a door that He opens.  🙂